Sunday, February 24, 2019

From Ian:

Arabs continue destroying Jewish archaeology on the Temple Mount
While Israel preserves Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock, Arabs have proven that they cannot be trusted to respect Jewish Holy sites.

On December 15, 2017 Nadav Shragai wrote in Israel Hayom "King Herod's grand Third Palace is being systematically destroyed by the Palestinians, who are stripping its stone and building homes around it. The site is in Area A, meters from Israeli-controlled territory, but the Israeli government can do nothing...Here is a lesson that teaches us how the Palestinians today treat remnants of the past...It is unclear how much of this beauty remains.

Yaron Rosenthal, director of the Kfar Etzion Field School, who sometimes works with the Palestinian Arabs on environmental preservation projects, finds it difficult to hide his anger. "Israel sees how one of the grandest palaces ever built in the Holy Land is being destroyed, and is standing by helplessly, because under the Oslo Accords the site, which is 30 meters from Area C, was made the responsibility of the Palestinians. It's time for Israel to say, 'No more.' With all due respect to the Oslo Accords, we will not let you destroy important [archaeological] remains linked to the history of the Jewish people in their land, remains that are part of the cultural fabric of this country," Rosenthal says..."

On Jan 6, 2018 Judith Abramson reported in Jerusalemonline "Hebrew University archaeology doctoral student Haggai Cohen Klonymus described to the Israel News Company (formerly Channel 2 TV) how Palestinian tractors and bulldozers arrived at an archaeological site where the ancient city of Archelaus once stood. The Palestinians completely leveled the compound in order to locate hidden archaeological treasures to sell in the antiquities market. "Just as ISIS destroyed sites in Iran and Syria that were thousands of years old, the same situation is occurring here," he said. "This is a deliberate and systematic destruction of an archaeological site....It's just a tragedy."

In 2000 the Palestinians destroyed Joseph's tomb. Sidney Brounstein wrote for the Los Angeles Times "Oct. 8: Where is the outrage? Imagine what would have happened if Jewish police stood by and allowed a Jewish mob to destroy a Muslim holy place! Does the destruction of a Jewish holy place by an Arab mob while Palestinian police stand by (after promising to protect it) deserve no more than inclusion in a list of other damage done by rioters? Is this an acceptance of attacks on Jews and things Jewish as a normal part of life?" "It makes a mockery of any thought of giving Arabs any control of Jewish holy places. The destruction of dozens of such places in the Old City of Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967, along with the exclusion of Jews entirely from their most holy site, the Western Wall, was clearly of a piece with the current destruction."
Vandals draw swastikas on school playground in New York City
Vandals drew dozens of swastikas on an elementary school playground in New York City overnight Thursday.

The anti-Semitic graffiti, which included the words “Heil Hitler,” was found early Friday morning in the Rego Park neighborhood in the borough of Queens.

School staff removed the drawings and called the police, the Ynet news site reported.

The school was closed for vacation but the playground was open to the public.

“This is terrible anti-Semitism. This is a neighborhood with a lot of Jews who are proud of their Judaism and don’t hide it. It’s terrible that something like this is happening in New York,” Idan Shefi, an Israeli who lives near the school, told Ynet.

The incident comes amid a surge in hate crimes in New York City, especially attacks against Jews. The 55 hate crimes in the city so far this year represent a 72 percent increase over the same period last year, with close to two-thirds of the attacks this year targeting Jews, the New York Times reported on Monday.

Car drives on NY sidewalk, nearly hits kids from religious Jewish school
New York City police are searching for a motorist who drove around a stopped school bus onto a Brooklyn sidewalk, nearly mowing down schoolchildren.

A security camera captured the startled children as they scattered outside a Jewish school in the Borough Park neighborhood.

On Saturday, authorities looked for the driver using the car’s license plate, taken from the video as the children came off the bus Thursday morning. The children are seen heading for the Yeshiva Medrash Chaim.

A police spokeswoman says the suspect is wanted for reckless endangerment.

Former New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who represented Borough Park, says that passing the school bus could have resulted in the driver committing murder.




Netanyahu’s deal with racist party may be repulsive, but AIPAC crisis is over - analysis
Let’s state this right at the top: Otzma Yehudit is a reprehensible political party with racist roots.

While it may have the right to run in Israel’s elections – that is decided by the High Court of Justice – that doesn’t mean it is legitimate. Otzma, the descendant of the outlawed Kach Party, holds views that are beyond the pale, and that is where they should remain. These views include evicting Arabs from parts of Israel, taking away their citizenship, attacking homosexuals, calling for the killing of innocent Gazans and more.

With that said, everyone needs to relax a bit. There is no crisis between Israel and the United States because of the merger Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu orchestrated between Bayit Yehudi and Otzma, and it doesn’t mean that Israeli-US ties are now at risk of falling apart.

Practically speaking, let us also remember that according to the deal, Otzma gets two spots on the new right-wing merged party – #5 and 8. According to the latest polls, it has a chance of getting in one representative in the 5th spot, but even that is not for sure. If the party gets five spots, it means that Michael Ben-Ari will be in the Knesset, or more accurately, return to the Knesset since he already served as an MK between 2009 and 2013.

So while the deal Netanyahu brokered is terrible and even revolting, it is part of the way politics are played, and that is how it needs to be viewed. Netanyahu accurately predicted that Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz would merge their parties, meaning that he will need every vote for the Right to stay in power. That is what he is looking at – the short-term view of how to win another term as prime minister.

If he wins, he will likely denounce Otzma just as he did a 180 after the last election with regard to a Palestinian state – during the campaign he said there would never be a Palestinian state, and after he won he changed his tone.
PM slams AIPAC criticism of alliance with Otzma Yehudit
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is calling criticism from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobby over the far-right Otzma Yehudit party's merger with Habayit Hayehudi-National Union "hypocrisy."

In a post on his Facebook page, Netanyahu slammed what he called the Left's "double moral standards."

"They criticize an alliance on the Right with right-wing parties while the Left is working to bring radical Islamists into the Knesset to set up its own alliance," the prime minister wrote.

Netanyahu wrote that in 1999, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak had taken part in an election conference with leaders of Labor and Meretz, head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement (which has since been outlawed) Sheikh Raed Salah, and Azmi Bishara, who is accused of spying for Hezbollah, was voted into the Knesset.

Netanyahu also wrote that former Labor party leader Isaac Herzog advocated a surplus votes agreement with the Joint Arab List and said that the Arab MKs were legitimate representatives in the government.

"A merger with right-wing parties is unacceptable but working to bring in inciters and spies is legitimate. That's the height of absurdity," Netanyahu wrote.

AIPAC tweeted a message of support for a statement issued by another U.S. Jewish organization, the American Jewish Committee, which on Thursday called the views of Otzma Yehudit "reprehensible."
AIPAC is being irresponsible
First of all, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee is not the American Jewish community. It is a Jewish-American lobby. In comparison, the organizations that actually represent the Jewish community have thus far refrained from intervening in Israeli elections or politics, especially at such a sensitive time. In the past few days, we have witnessed a concentrated attack by most of the Israeli media, which of course affects the disinformation that American Jewry receives. We aren't talking about an ideological partnership with the far Right but rather a legitimate ad hoc merger to establish a bloc that can prevent the Left from taking power. Immediately after the election, members of Otzma Yehudit intend to separate from Habayit Hayehudi-National Union and join the opposition. So if AIPAC doesn't want to meet with Otzma Yehudit, they shouldn't meet with them. What does it matter to us? Unwittingly, AIPAC is irresponsibly playing into the hands of elements in the media and the Israeli political system who want to attack the Right. For the sake of their important activity, they mustn't jump into the Israeli political morass.

But it's hard to ignore the supposedly moral disgrace that has been heaped upon us. For years, all the coalition math by the Left included the radical, pro-Palestinian Left. This included the Arab parties that are working to eradicate the Jewish character of Israel, claiming that it is "racist"; MKs that encourage an international boycott of their country and support the policies of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who compensates those who murder Jews and increases the payments based on how horrific the killings are. Where has AIPAC been? Why haven't we heard them preaching morality to the Israeli Left for those alliances? In the 1999 election, Ehud Barak took part in a conference with Sheikh Raed Salah, who even them rejected Israel's right to exist, and not surprisingly, the morality glands of the leftist media failed to secrete. Let us remember that the government of Yitzhak Rabin, which brought us the blood accords in Oslo, was established based on a similar alignment of left-wing blocs.

Leading US Jewish journalists denounce Netanyahu for deal with extremists
Prominent US Jewish journalists have sharply criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for brokering a political deal that could see the extremist Otzma Yehudit party enter the Knesset, writing in opinion pieces that the premier’s actions were “shameful” and “can’t be ignored.”

The merger deal between the right-wing religious Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit could see at least one member of the latter party, which comprises disciples of Rabbi Meir Kahane, enter the Knesset after the elections on April 9. The deal was brokered last week by Netanyahu in a bid to strengthen a potential Likud-led coalition after the vote.

“Netanyahu and [Jewish Home head Rafi] Peretz have legitimized hateful fanatics until recently considered beyond the pale,” Eli Lake wrote in a Friday piece published in Bloomberg Opinion.

“Even if no Kahanists serve in a future government, the prime minister’s political embrace of them is a stain that cannot be ignored.”

National Review editor Jay Nordlinger tweeted the same day that he has admired Netanyahu for decades, but now “he has stayed too long. His dignity is ebbing away.”
NBC Corrects No Ministries Offered to Extremist Otzma Yehudit
Following communication from CAMERA, NBC corrects an article which last week erroneously reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised two ministries to the extreme-right Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Strength) party in exchange for merging with the right-wing Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home.) Otzma Yehudit is the progeny of Meir Kahane’s Kach party, which had been banned from the Knesset in 1988 for inciting racism.

The article, “Benjamin Netanyahu’s embrace of far-right extremists may seal his fate,” had erred:

Netanyahu’s Likud said it would grant two ministries to [Benzi] Gopstein’s [Otzma Yehudit] party if victorious, and it is this that has caused the greatest concern

In fact, Netanyahu did not promise Gopstein’s party two ministries. The promise of two seats was to Bayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home), a mainstream party not accused of racism.
Haaretz Corrects Israel Hopes to Strengthen Coordination with Russian, Not Syrian, Army
CAMERA’s Israel office today prompted correction of a series of articles in Haaretz‘s English edition which erroneously reported that a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin originally scheduled for Feb. 21 was intended to help strengthen coordination between the Israeli and Syrian armies. Postponed until this Wednesday, the meeting will in fact aim to step up coordination between the Israeli and Russian, not Syrian, armies.
Thursday’s page-one article (“PM’s promises seal deal between far-right party and Kahanists,” Feb. 21, and online here), stated:
Thursday’s meeting was meant to focus on regional affairs, the situation in Syria and the strengthening of the security coordination between Israel and Syria’s armies.

A second article, which appeared in the same print edition (page 2, “PM cancels Putin meeting as election rivals struggling to unite,” and online here) reported the same sentence, word for word.
CAA cautiously optimistic of success for efforts to completely proscribe Hizballah
In an attempt to force a decision from the Home Office, Campaign Against Antisemitism also launched a parliamentary petition which gained over 15,000 signatures from all but one of the UK’s 650 parliamentary constituencies, from Orkney to St Ives. The 15,000 signatures considerably exceeded the 10,000 required to compel the Government to consider the matter and formally respond, but when the Home Office did issue a statement, it shamefully failed to rule on the issue.

During our campaigning work against Hizballah, we gained the support of figures from the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, a former Downing Street Chief of Staff to a prominent Muslim leader. Their brave voices have been strengthened by calls from the Mayor of London and others, but the Government repeatedly proved unyielding.

Whilst the position of the British Government has been a long and shameful betrayal of British Jews, some have called for even greater leniency. Jeremy Corbyn, who famously called Hizballah his friends, even argued for the lifting of any restrictions on the group in the UK. One branch of the Labour Party even debated whether members of Hizballah should be allowed to join the Party.

We are now cautiously optimistic that our efforts, and those of many other friends and allies, may now be about to bear fruit, we also recall past disappointments and the fact that our country has long disgraced itself by permitting Hizballah supporters to operate with relative impunity. If our current optimism is correct, then successive Governments of all political affiliations have shamed themselves by resisting calls for them to act, with progress only coming now due to the growing national recognition that antisemitism has flourished in Britain to the extent that our country’s Jewish minority is now fearful for its very future.


Palestinians celebrate victory after Israel capitulates, again, on Temple Mount
The latest flareup at the Temple Mount flashpoint holy site in Jerusalem over the reopening of the Gate of Mercy, a section just off the Al Aqsa Mosque plaza, has been making headlines in the Arab and Palestinian media.

The media attention is focusing on what is being hailed as a knockout victory for the Palestinian and Jordanian side in the battle over the site. A prominent Palestinian analyst, Nasser al-Laham, was quick to adopt the victory narrative and wrote that it was a message to Ramallah and Gaza on how the struggle with Israel should be conducted.

The Gate of Mercy, or Golden Gate, known in Arabic as Bab al-Rahma, was sealed by Israeli authorities in 2003 because the group managing the area had ties to Hamas, and it has been kept closed to stop illegal construction work there by the Islamic Waqf, the custodian of the site on behalf of Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. Israeli officials believe the work led to the destruction of antiquities from periods of Jewish presence in the area.

Tensions had escalated in recent days at the contested compound, with protests early last week turning into scuffles with police, and forces arresting 60 Palestinians Thursday overnight suspected of “causing disturbances.”

Police accused the Waqf of trying to “change the status quo” at the sensitive site by convening in the closed area.

The Temple Mount, the location of the biblical Jewish Temples, and now of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock shrine, has in recent years become an epicenter of friction between Israelis and Palestinians.
Chipping away at the status quo
This is a bad turn of events for Israel. The Jordanians have installed opponents of Israeli hegemony on the Temple Mount on the waqf council, the Jordanian administrative body that oversees the Temple Mount and its mosques. There is one goal behind this: to make it clear to the U.S. and Israel that they will not agree to their status on the Mount, which is anchored in agreements with Israel, being reduced. What frightened the Jordanians and prompted them to take this unusual step were reports that U.S. President Donald Trump's peace plan, which also touches on the status of Jerusalem, calls for pan-Islamic management of the Temple Mount in which additional Arab countries – including Saudi Arabia – would participate. Saudi Arabia already controls the holiest two places in Islam, the cities of Mecca and Medina.

The target for the Jordanians' message is the area around the Golden Gate, which has already been the site of conflict. The police put an end to illegal Muslim burials outside the gate, and there were also tussles with the Israel Antiquities Authority about what would happen to the ancient wooden beams near the Golden Gate, some of which date back to the First and Second Temple periods, which were removed from the roof of Al-Aqsa mosque after it was leveled by an earthquake in 1927. These beams had been lying near the Golden Gate for years, vulnerable to the elements.

Jerusalem got the message but it seems as if it's too late. The new waqf council and Hamas are spreading lies about Israel planning to build a synagogue at the Golden Gate. They are determined to annex the area to the Muslim prayer area of the Mount, which is constantly being expanded. The first battle, which took place on Friday, went to them. We can expect another round.
Israel briefly detains top Waqf official over Temple Mount protests
Israeli police briefly detained the head of the Islamic authority that oversees Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem early Sunday following recent protests there.

The cleric, Sheikh Abdelazeem Salhab, was appointed to head the Waqf by neighboring Jordan, which strongly protested the arrest.

Jordan’s minister of Islamic affairs, Abdul Nasser Abul Basal, said the Israeli action was “dangerous and an unacceptable escalation” that affected Jordan’s role as the custodian of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem, according to the Petra news agency.

Israeli police confirmed the arrest, and the Waqf later said police had released Salhab and banned him from entering the site for a week.

Najah Bakirat, deputy head of the Waqf organization, was also arrested Sunday morning, according to Palestinian media reports.


Israel’s terror fund deduction rekindles Palestinian support for Abbas
Just as everyone was sure he was done, just as his popularity reached an all-time low, the Israeli government has revived Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

On its face, Israel’s dramatic announcement last week that it was deducting about half a billion shekels ($138 million) from tax revenues collected and transferred to the PA — claiming that it is being used to pay salaries to relatives of jailed and slain terrorists — should have been a heavy blow to Abbas.

But in practice, that last days have seen an opposite trend in Palestinian public opinion. Abbas’s countermeasure of refusing to accept even a penny of the tax funds as long as Israel deducts the terror payments has caused an outpouring of support for him.

Social media has been buzzing with passionate declarations of support by Palestinian student groups, PA employees, security force members and many others, with some promising to donate their salaries to the “martyrs and prisoners.”
MEMRI: Palestinian Press Fiercely Attacks Hamas: 'A Tumor That Must Be Removed', No Different From ISIS And Al-Qaeda, Cares Nothing For Our Children's Lives
Tensions between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas have escalated in recent weeks, against the backdrop of the PA leadership's December 2018 decision to disband the Palestinian Legislative Council that has been controlled by Hamas since 2006,[1] and the PA's and Fatah's preparations for assembling a new Palestinian government in the near future with PLO factions but without Hamas. Fatah Central Committee member 'Azzam Al-Ahmad even stated that this government's main aim was likely to be bringing down Hamas in the Gaza Strip.[2]

The London-based Al-Sharq Al-Awsat daily reported that Hamas is planning to revive the Administrative Committee in the Gaza Strip, to operate as a parallel government headed by Hamas with the participation of the factions that will refuse to join the new Fatah-led PA government.[3] The escalation and the polarization between the sides also caused the February 10-12, 2019 Moscow talks with the Palestinian factions – which included an attempt by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to encourage the Egypt-brokered intra-Palestinian reconciliation,[4] to conclude with no agreement on a joint statement but plenty of mutual recriminations.[5] The escalation was manifested also in action on the ground: About a week ago, it was reported that Hamas activists had taken over the Kerem Shalom crossing and expelled PA officials from there.[6]

As a result of this escalation of tensions, the PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida published a number of articles harshly critical of Hamas. The articles depict Hamas as a tumor that threatens the Palestinian national project and therefore must be removed, and also as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and as promoting an agenda inimical to Arab, and particularly Palestinian, nationalism; they also likened Hamas to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS).[7] Other articles accused the Hamas leaders of endangering the lives of Palestinian children and cynically exploiting their blood for media purposes in order to promote their agenda.
Gaza protesters call on Abbas to step down
Thousands of protesters in the Gaza Strip Sunday called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to resign after attempts to pressure his rival Hamas with financial cuts in the impoverished enclave.

“Leave!” yelled crowds made up mainly of supporters of Hamas and Mohammed Dahlan, an Abbas rival expelled from the president’s Fatah party who now lives in exile.

They called on the Palestinian Authority to pay the full salaries of public sector employees in Gaza, run by Islamist terror group Hamas.

Abbas, 83, has over the course of recent months reduced salaries in the Gaza Strip.

The rally was organized by a group called the Free Gaza Movement, whose members are circulating anti-Abbas content on social media platforms.

Protesters demanded increased electricity supplies to the enclave, where residents receive power in around eight-hour intervals.
Christian leaders to Abbas: ‘Don’t engage churches in political quarrels’
A recent decision by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to appoint a new Supreme Presidential Committee for Churches’ Affairs has angered Christian leaders in Jerusalem, who said the move was taken without consultation and coordination with them.

A group named the Council of Patriarchs and Heads of Churches of Jerusalem called for a meeting of its members to discuss the appointment, which they described as a “clear infringement on the role and status of the churches.” The group called on Abbas to “maintain the status quo and not to engage the churches in political quarrels.”

The group said that several of the church leaders in Jerusalem expressed their dismay for hearing about Abbas’s decision from various newspapers and media outlets.

“There is a general dissatisfaction with the low level of membership representation in the new committee compared to the previous committee,” the council said. “The previous committee included members of the PLO Executive Committee and [PA] government ministers, while the new committee includes representatives of ministries and a representation of an entity with legal and political controversies, which will negatively affect the performance of the committee.”

Abbas announced the names of the new members of the Supreme Presidential Committee for Churches’ Affairs in a “presidential decree” he issued on February 14.






Saudi crown prince defends China putting Uighur Muslims in camps
Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday defended China's use of concentration camps for Muslims, saying it was Beijing's "right," the Telegraph reported.

"China has the right to carry out anti-terrorism and de-extremization work for its national security," the crown prince, who is in China signing multi-million trade deals much to the chagrin of his Western allies, told Chinese state television.

China's leader, Xi Jinping, reportedly told Salman the two countries must strengthen international cooperation on deradicalization to "prevent the infiltration and spread of extremist thinking."

U.N. experts say the camps hold a million Uighurs, who speak a Turkic language and other Muslims. China has rejected accusations of mistreatment. The Uighur are an ethnic Turkic group that practices Islam and lives in western China and parts of Central Asia.

Beijing has accused the Uighur minority of supporting terrorism.

Muslim leaders have thus far not broached the issue with China, which has in recent years become an important trading partner with the Middle East.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was the first to condemn Beijing, however, describing China's treatment of its Uighur population as "a great cause of shame for humanity" last month and asking it to close the "concentration camps."
Holocaust-Denying Professor Petitioned Against Jewish Club
On the University of Essex campus, outcry has ensured over 200 students voting against a Jewish club forming. In the midst of the controversy, a professor at the institute with a Holocaust denying past was found petitioning against the club as well. Our Jonathan Sacerdoti discusses with host Calev Ben-David.


Where did BBC News get its Essex University story quotes?
The story was portrayed in the first report as follows:

“More than 200 students have voted against forming a new Jewish society, raising fears of anti-semitism.

The national Union of Jewish Students (UJS) said it was “shocking” there were objections to the new society at the University of Essex’s students union.

Some students said they were against society proposals to “explore zionism” and celebrate the Israeli national day. […]

…some students have said they did not object to the society in principle but to its proposals to promote the Israeli national day and explore Zionism, which they argue are political rather than religious topics.

One student who wished to remain anonymous said: “Unfortunately this manifesto excludes a huge proportion of the Jewish community and implies that all Jews support the Israeli state. Judaism should not be conflated with Israel.””


Omitted from the BBC’s account of the story – but reported by other media outlets including the Telegraph, the Guardian and the Jewish Chronicle – is the involvement of the university’s Amnesty International group in the outcome of the vote.

Those quotes identified by the Jewish Chronicle as coming from the university’s Amnesty International group statement are remarkably similar to the ones appearing without attribution in the BBC’s report.

While the BBC is usually more than willing to quote and promote the political NGO Amnesty International, in this case it appears to have curiously chosen to erase the organisation’s link to the story.


Outer space tech used by Israeli startup to find water leaks on Earth
Israeli startup Utilis has developed a way to detect leakages of fresh water as it makes its way through the national water infrastructure — by taking a look at the Earth’s surface from outer space, adopting a technology that was originally developed to look for water on Mars and Venus.

The World Bank has estimated that 32 billion cubic meters of fresh water are lost every year worldwide, and that the amount of water that gets wasted even before reaching the final customer in the developing world is enough to supply 90 million people with their water needs.

The financial costs of such losses are also huge, both for water utilities and the public.

The ability to use SAR (Synthetic-Aperture Radar) to detect water in the ground has been around for a while and universities and research organizations have been trying to use it to identify water on other planets for years. Utilis’ founder and CTO Lauren Guy, who worked on similar projects while pursuing his masters degree at Ben Gurion University, set out to use this technology for the detection of underground treated water in an urban environment, Utilis CEO Elly Perets said in a phone interview.
Israeli lunar craft successfully completes first maneuver
Israel’s first lunar-bound spacecraft successfully carried out its first maneuver on Sunday after completing its first orbit around the earth, the team behind the privately funded Beresheet project said.

According to a joint statement from IAI and SpaceIL, the 30-second maneuver, made 69,400 kilometers from earth, enabled the spacecraft to edge closer to the moon.

The four-legged Beresheet, barely the size of a washing machine, will circle Earth in ever bigger loops until it’s captured by lunar gravity and goes into orbit around the moon instead. Touchdown is planned for April 11 at the Sea of Serenity.

Sunday’s maneuver “will increase the spacecraft’s closest point of approach to Earth [during its elliptical orbit] to a distance of 600 kilometers,” the statement said.

“This is the first time Beresheet’s main engine was activated – the maneuver was completed successfully!” it added.

The statement stressed that the implementation of the maneuver took into consideration problems with the spacecraft’s star navigation system.

Following the successful launch of Beresheet into space early Friday morning, the team in the control room began looking into a small problem with its star navigation system.
Dr. Miriam Adelson: In heaven's name
In the dawn of Jewish history, God promised our forefather Abraham that his offspring, the Chosen People, would be like the stars in the sky. Ever since, Jews, an eternal people that is forever evolving, have gazed up into the night sky – at the changing moon, the rotating constellations – for inspiration.

At tragic times, space has also been a source of comfort: Incarcerated in Theresienstadt Ghetto, 14-year-old Petr Ginz painted "Moon Landscape," apparently imagining the lunar surface as a safe remove from an implacably cruel world. Ginz would be murdered in Auschwitz but his art lived on and was taken into space in 2003 by our first astronaut, Ilan Ramon, a war hero who symbolized the triumph of Zionist revival.

The team that met this latest challenge and managed to propel the "startup nation" into space also served Zionism with a priceless achievement for Israel and the Jewish people.

When Beresheet reaches the lunar surface, it will park a digital library of 3,000 years of Jewish wisdom, housed in a spacecraft that has the Israeli flag and the immortal Hebrew motto "Am Yisrael Chai" – The Nation of Israel Lives – emblazoned on its side. Together, these three symbols will shine forever upon the whole world.

This is an event to cherish, a source of pride.

We are not just "on the map" of the world: We are on the map of the universe.

Godspeed, SpaceIL. We will all watch Beresheet, in heaven's name, and marvel.
Pittsburgh mayor visits Jerusalem memorial to synagogue shooting victims
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto visited a memorial in Jerusalem on Sunday to commemorate the victims of the deadly shooting last year at the Tree of Life synagogue in his city.

Eleven people were killed in Pittsburgh during the October 27 shooting, which came as worshipers gathered for Saturday morning prayers.

US authorities have said Robert Bowers, who is facing federal charges over the shooting, raged against Jews while opening fire and later when he was taken into custody.

Peduto, who is in Israel for a conference of US mayors, planted an olive tree at the site to memorialize those killed.

“I have a long history with the Tree of Life congregation, I knew some of the victims personally,” he said, according to a statement from the Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF).

“Unlike 80 years ago [in Germany], when Jews were murdered, when synagogues were destroyed and businesses were shattered, when the community called this time, the police didn’t turn their back, they ran in to help. Politicians didn’t look the other way or try to hide, they stood up and said never again,” Peduto added.



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